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Local health leaders already seeing omicron-related surge

Baptist Health Lexington will postpone some elective procedures starting Wednesday, as all of the city's hospitals undergo a surge in COVID-19 cases. WUKY's Arlo Barnette reports.

Infectious disease doctor David Dougherty announced Baptist Health’s plan on a Tuesday call with the heads of other Lexington hospitals.

Officials for CHI St. Joseph and UK Healthcare said they aren’t currently postponing elective surgeries. Dougherty said with active COVID inpatient numbers in the mid 80s, they had about 50 positive tests in the ER on Monday night. In order to better care for those who need to be admitted, he asked patients not to come to the ER seeking a COVID test unless they’re experiencing severe symptoms.

Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale is interim chief medical officer at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. She says they’re worried because pediatric hospital capacity is a finite resource.

The doctors said monoclonal antibodies and the new pills used to treat COVID are in low supply. All physicians on the call begged Kentuckians to get vaccinated. Ashley Montgomery-Yates is chief medical officer for inpatient and emergency services at UK HealthCare.

The doctors say that every day, they see people severely ill with COVID wishing too late that they had gotten the vaccine. They say natural immunity doesn’t last as long as vaccinated immunity.

Governor Andy Beshear said on Facebook that over 7,200 Kentuckians chose to get their first dose of the vaccine on Monday, and over 18,000 got their booster. He urged everyone to keep it up.